If clipping your horse is next up on your to-do list, take a look at this video of Mary King and her former groom Jodie Summers clipping out the now retired Kings Temptress, for some expert advice on what to wear, where to do it and how to get it right.

NOTE: this is archive material filmed in 2008

How to clip a horse: the basics

1. Wear appropriate clothing

  • Wear sturdy footwear, ideally with steel toecaps
  • Don’t wear fleecy clothes. Overalls are a good idea
  • Use a cap to keep your hair back or a riding hat for extra safety

2. Find the right location

  • Outside gives good natural light
  • Indoors is best in wet weather
  • Choose a place where the horse is relaxed

3. Make sure the horse has a clean, dry coat to avoid blunting the blades

4. When using mains clippers use a circuit breaker and be careful the horse does not stand on the wires

Continued below…

5. Before starting to clip:

  • Check the clippers are working
  • Check the blades are in good order and have been recently sharpened
  • Make sure the tension is correct. This is different for each clipper brand. For Lister Clippers, which were used in the video, screw the tension nut down until tight. Turn the tension nut back one and a half turns.
  • Oil along the teeth of the blades, and also on the sides at the heel.

6. Introducing the clippers to the horse

  • Show the horse the clippers while they are turned off
  • Rub the clippers against the horse’s shoulder
  • Take the clippers away and turn them on. Let the horse listen to the noise
  • Take the clippers gently to the horse and place against the horse to feel the vibration
  • If the horse appears relaxed you can start clipping

7. While clipping:

  • Use long smooth stokes against the lie of the hair
  • Stop every 10 mins to clean the hair from the blades and apply oil along the teeth of the blades and also on the sides at the heel
  • If the blades start to get hot, stop and set them aside to cool down, or swap to new blades. Apply a blade coolant spray if necessary. Do not put the blades in water or parafin to cool them.
  • Take your time!

8. When the clip is complete wipe the horse down with a warm, damp sponge to remove any loose hair, then rug up appropriately.

9. Caring for your clippers:

  • Brush off all the loose hairs
  • Remove the tension set and the blades
  • Clean the blades with a brush and/or rag and put them away. Do not put them back on the handset while in storage
  • Clean the handset and pack away carefully
  • Store your clippers in a cool, dry place
  • Send your clippers and blades away at the end of the clipping season to be serviced and sharpened ready for the following year